Michy Batshuayi had a debut to remember as his two goals gave Borussia Dortmund a much-needed, if not entirely convincing, victory over basement boys Cologne.
Batshuayi’s strikes, coming in the 35th and 62nd minutes, were cancelled out by Simon Zoller and Jorge Mere respectively before the outstanding Andre Schurrle scored Dortmund’s winner six minutes from time.
Batshuayi, who arrived from Chelsea on loan as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang departed for Arsenal, turned provider for the winner in an outstanding debut which should give the Belgian plenty of confidence.
“I am very happy with my two goals but of course the most important thing today is the win,” he told German Eurosport. “It was the first game, it was not easy. I’m just happy about these three points. We want to climb as high as possible in the table and try to win every match.”
It was Dortmund’s first Bundesliga win since mid-December, and moved them from seventh to second ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.
The display, particularly defensively, was still littered with problems but after the barren run Dortmund have been on, the result was the most important thing.
“That was an incredibly important victory,” coach Peter Stoger said. “We were not perfect in the second half, and if we had lost the match there would certainly be lots of questions.
“Luckily it is not that way, so we are in the group fighting for Europe. Games like that are not for the faint of heart. The victory is good for us and Michy’s debut is, of course, fantastic, especially after the weeks of discussion.”
While Batshuayi will take the headlines, Schurrle was at the heart of so much that Dortmund did going forward, setting up the opening goal and creating several more chances for his team-mates.
The goal was no less than his performance deserved, and came as a relief as his first of the season.
“I had to take a lot (of criticism), whether deserved or undeserved it does not matter, but it can push you on,” he said. “Since the beginning of the second half of the season I’m in very good shape and can show more and more. This victory is extremely important to us.”
Though disappointed with the result, Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck took encouragement from his team’s performance as they played with confidence and threatened a late equaliser.
“We may not have been the better team, but I also don’t think we were worse,” he said in a press conference. “I think we played well against a Champions League calibre team. It’s a shame about the result.”